Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who reads the newspaper while driving? I'm guessing not that many. Who texts while driving? More than the number who read newspapers, is my assumption. Including my brother, who probably speeds at the same time. Scary.
How much more distracted can a driver get? Your concentration's gone. Your eyes are off the road. One hand's off the wheel. And, according to reports, being distracted by conversation on a cell phone -- and I'm going to take a leap to say that's similar to following a text conversation -- is like driving drunk. All in all, a tad dangerous, no?
Now the question is, how many states have laws against texting? How many have laws against reading the newspaper, putting on make-up or eating a Whopper while driving?
How much of a difference do those laws make? If people lack common sense, will the law affect their behavior? What are states finding?
California is one of the more recent states to ban texting while driving. But here's the funny thing. Although you are prohibited from sending email or browsing the Web while driving, you are allowed to type directions into the GPS on your phone, and read directions from a phone map or GPS program. But, "We do not recommend you do that," says a California Highway Patrol officer.
Sounds a little mixed up to me. I wonder how many drivers know these quirky details. Or care.
Any other state texting laws with interesting exceptions?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.